Austin’s cafe is at the part of back of the deli called ‘A.T. Welsh’ and has been in town as long as I can remember. This shop and cafe are still popular as ever and sells overpriced provender for tourists, the middle classes and the befuddled.
At the back of the deli sits a café called ‘Austins’ aimed at people with grey hair and at least one walking aid. The entrance corridor is redolent of a dementia village; a large glass display case containing a recreation of a war-time shop featuring a large golliwog (and a shelf full of mini ones), old cans contain Colman’s Mustard (not mustard gas), Lion (whatever that is), Fowler’s Treacle and Tate And Lyle. Old mincing machines, tills, wartime paraphernalia (such as ration books) all perfectly preserved looking like the set from Goodnight Sweetheart. But someone has been in there and left a Kit Kat Chunky on the counter. Reminds me a bit of the Game of Thrones Starbucks incident where a paper cup was left on the set during filming.
It’s fair to say that this place hasn’t changed for years and the punters like it that way. There are no card payments (except in the deli) and no wifi even though this would be very useful since the phone signal is woeful and tethering difficult.
It’s got a tiled floor and bricked walls adorned with lots of large enamel advertising boards from the 30’s and 40’s – Fry’s Milk Chocolate, Brooke Bond Tea, OXO, Lyon’s tea etc.
Never had an impression of overly-friendly staff here but this place has character (and a few characters judging by a few of the locals) but it is a safe, middle-class and octogenarian safe-heaven in a world where you can get knifed buying a packet of biscuits. Prices are not surprisingly Nantwich and tourist but not exorbitant. China cups appear with metal teapots. I swear these they are the same cups and teapots I got served when I came here as a kid.
Furniture is wooden faux medieval style with embroidered backs on benches to reassure the oldies they are in the right place. Only an Ovaltine dispenser is missing. But then that is a little too much this century for this place. After all Austin’s is part cafe, part dementia village.
I ordered my favourite sausage sandwich which came with a salad garnish on semi-stale bread. The sausage was also a bit spicier than usual so I was a bit disappointed. I also like the cottage pie here though it is usually served hotter than the sun’s core so you can leave it, go to another town and come back and it’s still piping hot.
This place has been going downhill then but will the customer’s notice anyway? Said punters are the over-fifties and a few tourists that can sign the visitor’s book if they wish. I just put ‘Wot no wifi?’. And on that subject I asked at the counter about it. ‘We don’t need it here and I don’t know anything about it anyway’. So it is still a wifi black-hole but most of its punters are retired so they don’t actually need to do any work. But since you can’t even get a phone signal in this cave of a place then God help them if they need to contact the outside world for an ambulance?
Interesting decor. Deli has nice food. Shop museum.
Pricey. No wifi.